JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, April 26, 2013
Brad Guzan's Aston Villa look to separate themselves from the drop zone when they play Sunderland, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City continue their relegation fight against Norwich City.
Aston Villa - Sunderland
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa continue their relegation battle when they take on Sunderland at Villa Park on Monday.
Guzan is a regular in Villa's lineup and is expected to start, while Eric Lichaj has not featured of late and hopes to make the game day roster.
Villa is coming off a tough 3-0 loss at Manchester United last week. The win for United clinched them another Premier League title, while the loss for the road team has them just three points above the drop zone.
The Villains have not won a game in their last two matches, but three out of their last four games are against teams in the bottom half of the standings. Paul Lambert and company will look to bounce back and get maximum points starting on Monday.
Sunderland is three points ahead of Villa in the standings and thus six points above the bottom three. They have won two straight games and can make their final week's of the season a less anxious affair with a win over Villa.
Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton and Richard Dunne look to miss for Villa because of injuries.
Stoke City - Norwich City
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City look to build off of last week's win and distance themselves from the drop zone with a win over Norwich City.
Geoff Cameron played only the final moments of last week's win over Queens Park Rangers, but Stoke's utility man is likely to see time in the backline this weekend. Brek Shea has not featured of late and is not likely to dress for the Potters.
Because of Stoke's win last week, they broke their seven game winless skid in league play. During this calendar year Stoke has fallen down the standings and are just six points above the relegation zone. With just four games left in the season the Potters will need three points to help solidify their spot in next season's Premier League.
The Canaries are just a point ahead of Stoke and thus are also in need of points. They beat Reading last week and also broke a winless skid of their own.
The Potters look to be without Matthew Etherington and Marc Wilson.
Everton - Fulham
Tim Howard and Everton host Fulham in a crucial late season league battle against Fulham.
The American ‘keeper and the Toffees went down to Sunderland last week on the road. Everton has just one win in their last four league games, and need to bounce back quickly.
Everton trails Tottenham for the fifth spot and Chelsea for the four position in the standings, and with just four games left in the season there is little margin for error.
The Cottagers have no danger of relegation, however with games dwindling in the season, dreams of Europe are not within reach. The London side is winless in their last four games, and has not beaten Everton since 2009. A win would be a welcome break to two unwanted streaks.
Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka are injured and are not likely to feature for the Toffees.
Wigan Athletic - Tottenham Hotspur
Clint Dempsey's Tottenham Hotspur take on Wigan Athletic in a match where both teams are desperate for three points.
The teams, however, are in need of points for different reasons. Spurs are in the fifth spot and trail Chelsea by a point for the last Champions League position.
Wigan is currently in the relegation zone and are four points from safety. They have lost their last two games and have not scored a goal in that span. If they look to start garnering points, offense will have to be found soon.
Aaron Lennon is questionable to feature for Spurs, while William Gallas, Sandro, and Younes Kaboul look to be sidelined.
Peterborough United - Sheffield Wednesday
Stuart Holden looks to get back to the starting lineup in Sheffield Wednesday's road game against Peterborough United.
Holden did not play in the Owls' draw with Ipswich town, but the American midfielder could see playing time this weekend.
Wednesday is just four points above the drop zone just two games left in the season. If other results go their way this weekend, a win could guarantee safety for the Owls.
Peterborough is currently just goal differential above the relegation zone, and needs three points on Saturday. They have won just once in their last five games and will need to snap out of their skid to stay in the Championship.
Zak Whitbread hopes to feature in Leicester City's game against Watford.
Tim Ream could see time in Bolton's road game at Cardiff City.
Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood are sidelined and will not feature in Birmingham City's match against Ipswich Town.
Conor Doyle's Derby County take on Blackpool.
Seb Hines' Middlesbrough play Charlton Athletic.
Frank Simek is questionable to feature in Carlisle United's game against Colchester United.
Mike Grella's Scunthorpe United play Swindon Town.
Jon Paul Pittman's Oxford United take on Accrington Stanley.